The ACLU of Nebraska aims to extend and defend constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties and rights of all Nebraskans. As we work towards a Nebraska that is true to our state motto of “Equality Before the Law,” we recognize that there are those whose rights have been historically denied on the basis of race. Although the authors of the Declaration of Independence envisioned a nation where there would be equal justice for all, that vision did not initially include those of African descent.

Celebrating Juneteenth is a not just a recognition of historical injustice, it is a celebration of liberation and freedom. It is also a reminder that our journey towards justice must continue.  Yet the Scotts Bluff County commissioners plan to not recognize Juneteenth as a county holiday.

Ignoring this federally recognized day in celebration of liberation would be doing a disservice to the people of Scotts Bluff County. By choosing to not recognize Juneteenth, the commissioner sends the message that those whose rights have been historically denied because of their race do not matter to the people of Scotts Bluff County. Celebrating Juneteenth in Nebraska brings us a step closer to actualizing a Nebraska that is for all where we truly value Equality Before the Law. It is also a chance for Nebraskans to celebrate the progress that has been made while also acknowledging that there is still work to do.

The people of Scotts Bluff County deserve to be on the right side of history. Juneteenth deserves to be celebrated.

Read the full letter to Scotts Bluff County Board of Commissioners here.